Saturn has a dark side  (Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA)

Every time you think that Saturn can’t get any more stunning, she does. This image, which captures the dark side Saturn’s rings, exudes a dark ,but graceful elegance — one that makes Saturn the crowning jewel of our solar system.

Other than their size, the most famous characteristic of the rings is their propensity for glistening. This shine comes from a huge number of tiny ice crystals and the effect light has on them. Normally, from our perspective on Earth, we see the Sun-facing side of the system. But, when we look at the rings from the other side, we get this. NASA notes that the rings display the same type of quality a negative does. Thanks to the density and the thickness of the various bands, the darker sections seen from below are the brighter sections when seen from above, and vice versa (the example they give is the really dark band near the center, called the B-ring. It also happens to be the brightest when facing the Sun), adding additional layers to their appearance.

Near the top left-hand corner of this image, you can also see Saturn’s moon Tethys. As a cool sidenote, if we combined all of the materials that make up Saturn's rings and made a moon of it, Tethys would still be more massive.


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